Learn the basics of wills

Senior couple meeting with an attorneyWills: distributing assets to beneficiaries
Wills are simply plans for distributing assets to family members and other beneficiaries. If you die without a will, your state law will determine how your assets will be distributed.
Work with your attorney to create (and revise) your will to meet your goals, including naming the executor of your estate and, if you have dependent children, designating a guardian for them.

Beneficiary designations
Annuities, life insurance, IRAs and retirement plans are just some of the assets that let you designate beneficiaries. The assets are automatically distributed to that beneficiary upon your death, which means they generally avoid the probate process.

Note: Beneficiary designations take precedence over any other instructions you provide in a will or trust. Keep that in mind when you’re developing your estate plan.

Click the Next button to learn about gifting strategies you can use.